"A better Virginia is possible, and we know how to build it. A minimum wage that allows every full-time worker to earn a living. Broadband access so that no one is left in the dark. A public school system that helps our children grow and thrive. A public safety model that prevents crime instead of just responding to it. And a justice system that prioritizes rehabilitation and equity."
Caitlin On The Issues
The Covid-19 pandemic brought into stark relief how desperately rural Virginians need access to reliable, high-speed broadband internet. While the General Assembly has talked about expanding broadband access, they have not made progress. Bridging the "digital divide" is an urgent priority to ensure that our rural communities are not denied work or education opportunities. There is an opportunity to aggressively pursue federal grants and build public-private partnerships in order to bring broadband access to our rural communities.
Criminal Justice Reform
Reforming the criminal justice system in Virginia must be an urgent priority. Current policies like cash bail and qualified immunity for police officers create an instituion that is rife for abuse, without making our communities safer. To prevent crime, we must first invest in the public programs that build social and economic equity, including education, mental health, resources for people experiencing housing insecurity, and economic development.
The impacts of climate change go beyond catastrophic storms and wildfires. Farmers are losing crops because of the increasingly hot summers, our water supply is under threat, and the natural landscapes that define our region are being auctioned off for profit. I believe in protecting our environment with smart energy investments with a smaller footprint.
Virginia is an attractive state for businesses, which presents new opportunities for economic development. However, development must not come at the expense of the small businesses and working families at the core of our communities. Many traditional models of economic development disproportionately favor large businesses, leaving small businesses behind. We can ensure smart, equitable development by expanding access to capital for small businesses and entrepreneurs, providing new state contracting opportunities for Virginia companies, and small business protections in zoning laws.
Support For Working Families
Our economy is driven by the essential workers who keep our communities running, even through crises. Anyone who works a full-time job should be able to earn a living wage - and that includes farm workers and gig workers. I support a $15 minimum wage with future increases tied to the cost of living, protections for gig workers, and better enforcement of wage policies to prevent wage theft, retaliation, and other mistreatment.
Health care is one of the largest expenses for public budgets and family budgets alike. A crucial measure to improving the public health of our state, as well as the economic prosperity, is to tackle health care costs and ensure that every person in the Commonwealth can access affordable health care. We can bring the health care costs down through price control measures for prescription drugs, address the health care proivider shortage with targeted workforce development programs, and increase support for community health centers to expand access to care.